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New design for a home built solar heat collector

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I am in the process of testing my new design for a solar heat collector and the results look promising.

It is based on the design seen in several places, as well as the Canadian manufacturer Cansolair.
Side view of collector
End view of collector

The main heat collection tubes are made from recycled soda cans


The biggest difference in this design is I have spaced the columns apart, similar to a Solar water collector to allow angled sun to strike more of each column. In addition I used a reflectorized Insulation behind it to gain surface area in the back. My design uses 20% less cans but total surface area in almost all angles is greater.

If you haven't seen these it basically takes air from the structure into a manifold at the bottom. Then it goes up each column and back into a manifold at the top which is piped back to the structure.

In my testing today, I am getting a constant temperature rise from about 72 degrees ambient, to between 105 and 110 degrees discharge.

I have increased my air flow to 150% of every other one I have found. My fan is rated at 150 cubic feet per minute.

For now I have it horizontal to mimic the sun angle in the winter. The shadows in the above photo show that I was getting over 100 degrees early this morning with a severe sun angle.

I have not measured power use yet, as I loaned my Kill a Watt meter to a neighbor.  I used a 110 volt motor because I was unable to find a 12 or 24 volt motor that would deliver the airflow I wanted.

Hopefully before too long I will put up a small website to include more details.

Total cost of this collector was about $350.00
post #2 of 3

New design for a home built solar heat collector

@whirnot - Love it and well done!

For most this is a better bet than solar PV - the cost is an attraction in itself. People do have to take care for vendors though - some are charging an arm & a leg for air heaters.

I haven't done anything about an air heater yet but it is in my plans for the coming year. 
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

New design for a home built solar heat collector

In today's testing I found that if the fan was shut, off the temperature rose to over 140 degrees in a very few minutes. So I am assuming since it has a snap disc fan switch with a 20 degree differential, I will set it up to come on about 135 and shut off about 115. This way I can cycle the fan., add really hot air, and save on electricity.

When I get around to the website, I will be supplying specifications, suppliers, etc.  This is not a difficult project for someone that is a little handy.
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